Toufik Benedictus “Benny” Hinn, 66, is an Israeli televangelist and one of the most notorious proponents of a profoundly destructive theology known as the “prosperity gospel.”
He holds “Miracle Crusades” in stadiums around the world, later broadcasting them on his TV show, This Is Your Day.
A mainstay of his teaching is that if Christians have faith in Jesus and obey the Word of God (which usually involves donating substantial cash donations to his ministry), God promises good health, wealth, and happiness.
Built on the financial backs of his supporters, who are promised material blessing if they contribute to Hinn’s ministry, he has a notoriously lavish lifestyle, including two multi-million-dollar mansions, a personal chef, a fleet of Mercedes Benzs, and things like a $4,000 single-night hotel bill during a layover flight, tipping the concierge and the bellmen $2,000.
Recently, however, Hinn made a stunning reversal on the charismatic show Your Loveworld. Saying that today all you hear about is a “feel-good message” of “how to build the flesh,” which is all about “feel good, do good, make money,” he said, “I’m correcting my own theology, and you need to all know it.”
Noting that he saw the need to change a while ago, he explained that he has not yet gone public so as to avoid hurting friends who hold to this view. Now, however, he thinks “it’s an offense to the Holy Spirit to place a price on the gospel.”
“I’m done with it. I will never again ask you to give a thousand or whatever amount, because I think the Holy Ghost is just fed up with it. . . . . I think that hurts the gospel.”
He said he no longer cares what people think of him, and he recognizes he now won’t get invited places. “If I hear one more time, ‘Break the back of debt with a thousand dollars,’ I’m going to rebuke them. I think that’s buying the gospel. That’s buying the blessing. That’s grieving the Holy Spirit.”
Those who give should do so simply because they love Jesus, or they shouldn’t give at all.
“I think giving has become such a gimmick that it’s making me sick to my stomach.”
“I think it’s time we say it like it is: The gospel is not for sale. And the blessings of God are not for sale, and miracles are not for sale. And prosperity is not for sale.”
Costi Hinn, Benny Hinn’s nephew and the pastor of discipleship at Redeemer Bible Church in Gilbert, Arizona, is the author of the recent book, God, Greed and the Prosperity Gospel: How the Truth Overwhelms a Life Built on Lies. (You can listen to his podcast interview with TGC or read his testimony over at Christianity Today.)
Christian News reached out to him for reaction, and he offered a cautiously optimistic perspective—filled with hope but not naïveté:
“I was encouraged by his blunt refutation of the prosperity gospel. I sincerely hope and pray that this is the beginning of repentance for him and a turnout in these later years in his life and ministry.” . . .
Hinn told Christian News that he hopes his uncle is genuinely repentant and not merely remorseful. He said that Hinn has expressed regret for statements and decisions in the past only to resume his unbiblical behavior.
“Genuine repentance in the Bible is always accompanied by actions that prove that it’s really repentance,” he stated, explaining that repentance would look similar to that of the account of Zacchaeus, who climbed a tree out of his eagerness to see Jesus.
“Jesus saves him and goes to his house that day, and is willing to eat a meal with him and show him love and grace in the midst of his past and his sin,” he recalled. “And Zacchaeus is jumping for joy, excited to pay people back, excited to do whatever it takes to follow Jesus and show his genuine repentance through his actions.”
Hinn noted that the Bible says love is to believe all things and hope all things (1 Cor. 13:7), and that Monday’s announcement should be treated accordingly. Time will tell, he said, whether or not the transformation is for real.
“My desire is that Uncle Benny’s statement is not merely public remorse to save face or protect his ministry from decline,” he stated, “but rather that it is genuine repentance and that he would be willing to forsake everything if it means gaining Christ and the full gospel.”
In the following clip, John Piper explains why he abominates this teaching that is destroying faith around the world.
A recent documentary, American Gospel: Christ Alone, looked at these unloving and unbiblical teachings, which are really no gospel at all:
For what to read on why the prosperity gospel is so wrong, see these recommendations from Costi Hinn.